Wednesday, 29 April 2020 12:50

Northland herd on track to 500kgMS per cow

Written by  Staff Reporters
Wayne and Kelly Sanford. Wayne and Kelly Sanford.

The decision to move to overseas genetics has put a Northland farming couple on the track to achieving 500kgMS/cow.

The Sandford property at Waipu has been in Wayne Sandford’s family for several generations. Wayne took over the running of the 157 hectare farm and herd around three decades ago and Kelly recalls the breeding of the 270 Friesian cow herd was predominantly New Zealand genetics.

“When Wayne and I got married we were very focused on BW. Each year we’d select the top BW bulls on offer but were becoming concerned at the udders in the daughters they were siring - they were small and it wasn’t uncommon for heifers to go dry soon after entering the herd.

“Our farm system is System 4. We’re after top production from our cows and the udders we were seeing among replacements was beginning to really compromise our production, so we changed our focus from BW to traits. 

This saw us move to another New Zealand genetics company whose line-up of bulls had good udder traits. Unfortunately their gene pool of straight Friesians was limited and when this resulted in the company encouraging us to crossbreed, we began looking elsewhere,” Kelly Sandford said. 

“Customer service is everything to us and we had also become frustrated at the large turnover of staff the company was constantly experiencing. We were continually getting new representatives who didn’t know us, our herd or our farming goals.

“It was then that we met Dyanne Osborne on the World Wide Sires’ stand at Fieldays and realised how focused the company was on traits and how they were able to select sires from a database of the best Friesians in the world to suit our farming system.”

“Ahead of her time”

World Wide Sires’ Dyanne Osborne is known, by name and reputation, across the New Zealand dairy industry. She’s known as a trailblazer her belief and advocacy in the value US genetics could bring to New Zealand dairy farmers never wavering over more than 30 years.

Osborne says the late 1990s was “a time of challenge and change. Multi-year research comparing the fertility and production of North American Friesians with New Zealand and Irish cows revealed a concerning level of infertility. This was largely a result of milking year-round without the breeding pressure which comes with seasonal dairying. Coincidentally the research results came out at the time global dairying was changing in favour of seasonal. It was a time of change and opportunity and one Select Sires embraced.

World Wide Sires is the marketing arm for Select Sires – one of the largest dairy farmer owned cooperatives in the world.

“Today even a cursory look over the stats of the World Wide Sires’ bulls on offer today demonstrates some of the best fertility statistics combined with health and production records, available in the world today.

“The tide is turning in so many ways for New Zealand farmers and there’s never been a better time to move from small statured, small producing cows to moderate sized, high producing cows which will last in the herd and give farmers the option of reducing numbers without a negative impact on production or productivity. 

“We’re talking a line of genetics, specifically selected for the grazing environment which enable farmers to reduce their environmental footprint with fewer cows AND continue to make money,” Dyanne Osborne concluded.

More like this

Pasture road map boosts feed goals

Now is the time for dairy farmers to develop a pasture ‘road map’ to ensure they have enough feed to take their farms through calving to the balance date in mid-September.

Copper deficiency’s link to lameness

Every mating season, veterinarians are called to fresh calved heifers presenting with unexplained severe forelimb lameness. This could be down to copper deficiency. 

Heat detection with no tail paint

The latest device from the Irish maker, Moocall Heat, monitors cows for heat detection, centering on a collar worn by the bull to detect his activity as he moves through the herd. 

Featured

ANZCO makes a $30m profit

Meat company ANZCO Foods recorded its best-ever revenue of $1.7b and a net profit before tax of $30.6m for the year ended 31 December 2019.

 

M. bovis – we’re making headway

Ministry for Primary Industries chief science adviser, Dr John Roche on the indications New Zealand is winning the fight against Mycoplasma bovis.

Delays ruled out on water reforms

Delaying the introduction of new water reforms was not an option according to the two cabinet Ministers directly involved – Environment Minister David Parker and Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor.

$700m for freshwater clean up

The Government has announced a $700 million fund to support the primary sector and other groups in meeting new clean water standards.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Effluent power

Finnish dairy company Valio is on a mission to reduce milk’s carbon footprint to zero by 2035.

What’s in a name?

The man who coined the term ‘Gypsy Day’ is slightly miffed that a term he introduced to New Zealand’s farming…

» Connect with Dairy News

» eNewsletter

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter